Are you itching to get your hands in some dirt? So am I!! We were able to get a few trays started in January, but now it’s time to focus on the seeds to plant in February. These are some of the plants I want to have ready to get in the ground as soon as the growing season begins.
Do I need anything besides seeds to plant in February?
There are many tools used for seed starting as well as some other equipment. I have included many of these items in a helpful article you can peruse as well. Seed starting can be as frugal or lavish as you desire it to be. Just don’t become overwhelmed by your options that you neglect to get started!
Isn’t it too soon to be worrying about seeds to plant in February?
Not really. Even if you still have inches or even feet of snow on the ground with no thaw in sight, it really is good to get a head start on your spring planting. You likely have a shorter growing season if this is the case and you will want to make the most of your growing window by starting your plants ahead of time and caring for them until transplant time comes.
Some years I like to get the kids involved and we play in the dirt together starting seeds on Valentine’s Day. This combines two of my great loves, my children and gardening. Most of the seeds I begin will require a longer germination and grow out time before actually being transplanted. Some may even need to be up-potted if they are getting huge while indoors. It will be so nice to have so much lush greenery around again and I just can’t wait to see it!
Most of these will be set out in the ground between Tax Day and Mother’s Day. This is perfect for my climate and allows me to focus less on the theft of our labor (via taxation) and more on abundance. Having all of the plants and flowers we start in the ground makes for a Mother’s Day truly worthy of celebration!
Growing food is a legal way to print your own money.
Choosing and buying seeds to plant in February can save you a lot of money as a gardener.
Your goal in starting seeds now is to have healthy plants ready to set out once all danger of frost has passed. Do not jump the gun on this or all of your effort starting seeds will be wasted. This would be devastating to your plans as a new vegetable gardener. Be sure to acclimate your plants gently to the outdoors before setting them in the ground as well. This is a vital part of the process.
How to know which seeds to plant in February and when.
Determine your last frost date here and then add a week to that date. This ensures that you will have the greatest chance for transplant survival should a late surprise frost arrive. Tender plants sunburn easily too so be sure you are putting young plants outdoors in gradual steps.
Seed catalogues, online seed markets, and nurseries will have a vast array of choices for you to select from. It is easy to want to try them all. When selecting seeds to plant in February each year make sure your personal focus is on these three factors:
- What you and your family actually like to eat
- What grows well for you in your climate
- What grows easiest based on your soil and garden site
1. Carrots and Radishes.
Carrots are not really suited for planting now in my zone. It will already be too hot for them once they are mature enough for harvest. That is why I planted them in November for overwinter growing. This is not the case for most other zones so you could likely enjoy a huge harvest of late spring carrots if you get your seeds started outdoors now.
As for radishes, they have such a short requirement for days to maturity that I will get in a few rounds of several radish varieties before the heat makes them too unpleasantly peppery. I just can’t wait to have some fresh Daikon for my ferments!
2. Chinese Eggplant.
We are still learning to like eggplant. We have chosen the Ping Tung Eggplant as it has a more mild flavor than many eggplant varieties. Its tubular shape has an attractive bright purple color that really stands out against the green leaves. The skin peels very easily which makes it perfect for grilling and roasting. Ping Tung grows and produces really well in our hot summers. Their seeds will need a heat mat under them for excellent germination.
3. Pineapple Ground Cherry.
These fun little fruit-like treats love the hot weather and typically take a bit longer than most plants to produce. Once they get started, they are really quite productive. Sometimes called the Cape Gooseberry, these husk-covered fruits are a combination of a cherry tomato and a pineapple in flavor. Fruits are ready to enjoy when the paper-like husk falls to the ground for easy collection.
4. Flowers and Medicinals.
No list of seeds to plant in February would be complete without including a variety of lovely and useful flowers. Plants with a dual purpose like the Purple Coneflower (echinacea purpurea) are best started indoors this month. The roots typically take 2-3 years before they are ready for harvest as medicine, but you can still enjoy their beautiful flower this season. These are perennial in zones 3-8.
Did I just hear the angels in Heaven sing? Seriously, it is finally time to get started with what is typically everyone’s favorite garden fruit, based on surveys. Right now, I will particularly focus on some cherry tomato varieties and several of the meatier types I like to use for canning. I will get my beefsteak slicing and eating tomatoes started in a few weeks in more of a succession style. We do struggle with blight here in The South but that will not keep me from staggering several rounds of tomatoes that I will keep harvesting right up until frost!
6. Herb and Tea Garden Seeds.
All my mints and savory herbs will get started this month. I will definitely be starting oregano, sage, rosemary, spearmint, anise hyssop, and my chamomile. These are all very small seeds that are best sown in an over-seeding style. Don’t forget the parsley and winter savory!
If this is the year you were planning to try some Holy Basil, get them started now too. Plant 2 per cell and keep your eye on them. Germination only takes 2-5 days. Holy basil has a fragrance you won’t soon forget. Basil makes a lovely succession plant that germinates easily throughout the season. If you forget to put some on your list of seeds to plant in February you will have plenty of second chances!
7. Pepper Plants.
If you are hot for peppers then you will likely have a list of varieties you are planning to grow this season. Peppers love to have heat when starting their seeds. Germination is often longer than most plants and time to maturity takes a bit of extra patience as well. If your growing season is on the the shorter side, you will definitely want to get your peppers started ASAP.
8. Sweet Pea.
These are the spring garden plant of choice for their beauty and intoxicating aroma. Sweet Peas are so lovely when grown up a trellis or arch and are the first plants eager to give that show-stopping “the garden is over here” effect. Sweet Pea likes to develop a really deep root structure, so be sure to start in pots that allow for some depth. If you like to grow for form as well as function, then be sure to try some Sweet Pea varieties in your early garden this year.
Cilantro loves to grow in cooler weather. Spring is perfect for it. However, your salsa pals such as tomatoes and peppers love the heat. You can grow cilantro now to harvest for it’s seeds, called coriander. If you are wanting some for fresh salsa, it will likely have bolted and turned bitter before the rest of your harvest is ready.
In place of cilantro, I have started to grow culantro as an alternative. Culantro is also known as “saw-toothed parsley” and it loves the heat. When used in salsa you will not really notice a difference and cilantro-haters will not get that “soapy taste” reaction that is associated with cilantro. Culantro for the win!
I hope you are feeling eager and inspired by this list of seeds to plant in February. It is so close to grow time for many of us and having your own plants ready to get in the ground once it is time is a great feeling. When you are no longer dependent on nurseries and big box stores for your plant starts that truly is a giant leap towards sustainability and building resilience in your life!
What seeds will you plant in February? How are they coming along? Share your seed stories in the comments below.